Shipping from China to the UK: The Complete Guide 2024

Shipping from China to the UK

If you are thinking of shipping from China to the UK, there are several freight transportation options for your consideration. No matter which method of transport you choose, the most reliable way to guarantee a stress free and safe delivery is by using an expert China Freight Forwarder such as KG Logistics.

Shipping Costs from China to the UK

The shipping cost for transporting your goods from China to the UK will depend on a variety of factors:

  • The mode of freight transport you use: ocean, air, rail, or road.
  • The amount you are shipping.
  • Which shipping port you are transporting from.
  • The demand and time of the year.
  • Fuels costs.
  • Whether the shipment is door-to-door or port-to-port.


Ocean Freight

When it comes to transferring goods by ocean freight, you have the option of ‘less than a container load’ (LCL) or ‘full container load’ (FCL). LCL is used when you are shipping goods that are significantly smaller than the volume of the container, and you will be associated with other senders in the same situation in order to completely fill a container. You share the space and only pay for the space that you are using. FCL will involve you renting the entire container, with all the space dedicated to your shipment of goods.

Due to the distance between China and the UK, ocean freight is the most cost-effective and common mode of transporting goods. It can take anywhere between 25 and 60 days, depending on whether the goods are being transported port-to-port or door-to-door.

Air Freight

Air freight is considerably quicker than other freight options, and is the fastest way to transfer goods internationally. For an express air freight, where the courier companies have automated customs clearance, the transfer time will not exceed two days. For classic air freight, the same process will take a week to deliver your goods.

This form of transport is perfect if you need to transfer a shipment quickly, and is most economical when the load is between 300 and 500 kilograms. However, there are often added costs such as the logistics to and from the airport, alongside custom fees.

China Freight Forwarder

Rail Freight

Rail freight is an ideal logistic solution for those wanting a reasonable delivery speed at a cost-effective price. It is an eco-friendly alternative, with both LCL and FCL options available, taking between 18 and 21 days.

The route from China is across central Asia and Eastern Europe before reaching the UK. One of the most common routes sees the train pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and then through the Eurotunnel to reach the UK.

Road Freight

Road freight from China to the UK can take between 14 and 21 days, making it faster than both rail and sea freight and significantly more affordable than air freight. However, it does not have the same reliability as air freight and so is not ideal for quick transportation.

Customs clearance from China to the UK

It can be difficult for companies to navigate the complexities of the customs clearance process, which is why offloading this responsibility to a freight forwarder is ideal for many. Despite this, some of the documents needed will still be your responsibility, including:

  • Packing List
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Letter of Credit

Other documents may be necessary depending on the type of goods you are transporting. Failure to organise the necessary documents in time will result in the delay of your shipment arriving.

Speak to our experts today on 01634 540109 to find out how KG Logistics can help you with your freight forwarding needs.